While sitting at a barbecue with friends and family on a day of celebration, the last thing one might expect or want to hear is the news of the untimely death of a good man who brought joy to the lives of a lot of people. Thus, when I heard through word of mouth about the death of former Titans quarterback and league MVP Steve McNair on the Fourth of July, it seemed so surreal that I had to check the news for myself.

The death of the 13-year pro and Super Bowl XXXIV quarterback certainly came as a shock to me. I wasn’t nearly as surprised when I had learned of former Redskins safety Sean Taylor’s death, even though Taylor was in his prime and still in the public spotlight whereas McNair had retired in 2007. While both deaths were tragic, I guess I had just grown more fond of McNair throughout his career and had the utmost respect for him.

I, of course, did not know McNair the person. So I can only call him a “good man” from what I’ve heard through interviews of people who knew him. Here’s a list of reactions compiled by ESPN.com regarding McNair and his death. The extent of my relationship with him was that he took my fantasy football team to a league championship during his 2003 co-MVP season with Peyton Manning.

I honor McNair for his accomplishments on the football field and, of course, have the greatest empathy for those who knew him personally.